Email, texting and the web make my life crazier.
Both statements are totally true. While I couldn’t imagine life without all the conveniences tech gives me, I never feel like I can truly power down because of it — I am always on call, always engaged.
It’s gotten to the point where my kids have noticed. ”Mommy, put away your phone!” my daughter will command me. On weekends, if I’m trying to catch up on email in my home office and hear her heading up the stairs, I guiltily slam down my laptop’s lid so I won’t get “caught.”
“Technology is a good servant but a bad master,” says Gretchen Rubin in her new book Happier at Home, the sequel to her bestseller The Happiness Project. Her second book on bliss takes a look at everyday ways to feel more at home when you’re at home — including simplifying the stuff you own, being more thoughtful of your partner, tapping into the joys of your neighborhood, all in the name of feeling calmer, more energized and, yes, happier.
Gretchen dedicated a school year, September through May, to this latest project, tackling a different topic every month and digging up interesting research along the way. Like her first book, it’s filled with inspiration of the most practical variety; she gives you ideas you very much want to try, as soon as possible. She makes you scribble stuff out on Post-its and tack them to your computer, like “Give gold stars” (her resolution in her chapter on marriage to be more supportive and appreciative of her husband).
Gretchen dedicated January to better controlling her time — particularly her tech time. As she writes, “The real problem wasn’t the switch on my computer, but the switch inside my mind.” I asked her if her kids were aware of a difference after she put herself on a tech diet. ”You know, I don’t know that my kids consciously register a difference. They certainly never comment,” she says. “But I notice!”
Here, adapted from the book, are Gretchen’s 8 tactics to power down—and power up your happiness.
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Image source: Flickr/cscott2006
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